The eviction, involving Manjrekar stepping forward to remove the Cricket Star badge from the doomed player's breast pocket, before he is cast out through the studio door, may sound brutal but it does make great TV.Simon Hughes also alludes to voting on religious lines.
The first eviction episode threw up another dynamic in Indian cricket – racial bias. It has often been alleged that players of a minority religion have trouble getting recognition in certain states. The left arm quick bowler Zaheer Khan, for instance, a Muslim, initially couldn't get a game for Hindu-orientated Maharashtra. In the studio, two players were up for eviction – Agha Ali Hasan, a Muslim from Hyderabad and Ranjan Singh, a Sikh from Lucknow. They had all got on famously for the two weeks they'd been together. But as his team-mates filed down the Parkinson-style stairs one by one with the name of their nomination written on a card, a strange thing happened.
The first four were all Muslim: they voted to evict the Sikh. Then came three Sikhs and a Hindu. They voted against the Muslim. It was 4-4. The captain, Mohammed Abbas, had the casting vote. Sensitive to the situation and in an impossible position, he closed his eyes and selected one of the two cards at random. The name he picked was the Sikh.
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